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Nuclear chess: Iran's move next?

Iran is seen by many as a key test of the international community's resolve. If it is allowed to get a nuclear weapon, surely everyone is? So what will be done, in this final crucial phase, by both Iran and those trying to stop it?

Information in video correct as of 16/05/2010

 Subtitles: On / Off

One of President Obama’s

key nuclear objectives in 2010

is to rally the international community

to provide a firm, joint response

to Iran's violations

of the Non-proliferation Treaty

in its nuclear programme.

But stopping that Iranian programme

will not be easy.

It’s going to be hard to convince Iran

to leave the nuclear weapons path.

We've already seen

under five presidents now

what they've been trying to do,

both Bushes, Reagan, Clinton,

Obama.

Their programme

goes back until the 80s,

and yet we couldn't convince them

to shut down their programme.

In the short-term are they able

through astute short-term tactics

to get away with continuing

to enrich uranium? Yeah.

You're planning a long-term strategy

while the short-term

is moving fairly fast,

and in an unfortunate direction.

An alternative proposal for Iran

is already on the table,

as the head of the IAEA sets out.

In October last year Dr Mohammed

el-Baradei made a good proposal

to move low enriched uranium

from Iran to Russia

and enrich it up to 20%,

move it to France

and manufacture it

into fuel and bring it back to Iran.

I find this is a fair,

realistic proposal and support it,

but I don't have the answer from Iran.

I can tell you that he knows

the address of the IAEA,

he knows what is expected of him,

he can respond at any time,

and we would still welcome a good

faith, legitimate, genuine response.

But we are, as you know, waiting.

Do the Iranians need more carrots

or more sticks to convince them?

They don't like the word carrot.

They associate that with donkeys.

I try to remind them that one

of the biggest parties in the US,

has a donkey as a symbol,

they shouldn't take that seriously.

I think that the incentive way round,

to go along with a settlement,

would be to offer them guarantees

against attacks from the outside

or subversion from the inside.

Trying to gather

an international consensus on Iran

is the core

of President Obama's approach.

In our determination to prevent

the spread of these weapons

rules must be binding,

violations must be punished,

words must mean something.

The world must stand together

to prevent

the spread of these weapons.

But which audience is he trying

to convince the most?

The audience precisely is the Brazils

and South Africas of the world.

Those that want to see

a more equitable international order

and who will not involve themselves

and invest a lot

in enforcing a double standard.

I understand the protest that some

have weapons that others do not.

The nuclear order

is a double standard:

A few get to have nuclear weapons,

the rest don't.

It’s certainly a test of whether or not

he can bring together

the international community

to forge a common position

to try to deal with that programme.

The approach that he took on this

was that if he reached out to Iran,

and Iran snubbed him,

that he would be

in a stronger position

to get the international community

to support the US’s effort

to apply significant pressure to Iran.

This is also a matter of perception.

While the West tries to show

what's happening in Iran,

Iran is also trying to convince

any wavering countries.

They misperceive what's being done

to Iran as somehow 'taking away'

Iran’s nuclear right,

which isn't the case.

Iran violated the terms and

so it's not losing its nuclear rights,

but Iran casts it that way

and others say:

I don't want to do anything

that would limit my right

as is happening to Iran, I support Iran.

But what Iran projects as its rights

are already guaranteed

by the Non-proliferation Treaty.

Under the NPT Iran has the right

to develop peaceful,

civilian nuclear energy.

The next stop,

without some response from Iran,

is probably stiffer sanctions.

What effect can they have?

The sanctions are not a direct way

to stop a bomb programme.

They are not a good way to convince

Ahmadinejad to change his stripes.

The problem

for the President is that,

even if it's true that they come

together behind stiffer sanctions,

it still doesn't mean that they'll

prevent Iran from going forward.

Any country that’s determined

to develop nuclear weapons

is probably going to do so.

Looking for a viable solution is where

the international community is at.

Most recognise that sanctions

have their limits, but also their uses.

Sanctions aren't a magic wand.

What sanctions do accomplish is

hopefully to change the calculus

of a country like Iran,

so that they see that there are

more costs and fewer benefits

to pursuing

a nuclear weapons programme.

In this debate the typical argument is:

Sanctions are stupid,

we shouldn't do them anymore,

they won't change Iran's strategy.

But people are missing

the other point.

Sanctions are also used to punish

and to send the signal to somebody:

There are rules, you may break them,

but there's going to be a cost.

And we will maintain that cost, even

if we can't change your behaviour,

there will be a penalty.

That's partly the message.

It’s not just important

if there are sanctions,

almost equally important is

when they would be imposed.

It would be unfortunate

were the Security Council to act

during the month of May

when we have

the NPT review conference in

session.

Were the Security Council

to act and adopt stronger sanctions

there would be no incentive for Iran

to be accommodating.

A further concern are

the knock-on effects of sanctions.

Could they lead

to more proliferation by Iran

and could other, regional neighbours

follow Iran down the nuclear path?

The more sanctions

we will be imposing on Iran

there will be more incentives

for Iran to sell in the black market

whatever technologies

purchased at high price.

We are trying like heck

to hold the line against Iran

possibly being tempted to cross it.

That's a work in progress, but…

And if Iran does cross that

then we have a serious,

Middle East proliferation problem

with Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia.

We have to worry about that.

But Iran has not yet crossed

the nuclear weapons line.

There are reasons to believe

it may not cross it,

and that even if it did, it would never

actually use any weapon it gained.

What gives me more hope

is that I don't see

that they really have safe security

reasons to go for nuclear weapons.

They had with Iraq, but Iraq is gone.

Rational states,

even states that we don’t like at all,

are very hesitant

to use nuclear weapons

because there’s

a clear return address

and they would suffer

extraordinary consequences.

One of President Obama’s

key nuclear objectives in 2010

is to rally the international community

to provide a firm, joint response

to Iran's violations

of the Non-proliferation Treaty

in its nuclear programme.

But stopping that Iranian programme

will not be easy.

It’s going to be hard to convince Iran

to leave the nuclear weapons path.

We've already seen

under five presidents now

what they've been trying to do,

both Bushes, Reagan, Clinton,

Obama.

Their programme

goes back until the 80s,

and yet we couldn't convince them

to shut down their programme.

In the short-term are they able

through astute short-term tactics

to get away with continuing

to enrich uranium? Yeah.

You're planning a long-term strategy

while the short-term

is moving fairly fast,

and in an unfortunate direction.

An alternative proposal for Iran

is already on the table,

as the head of the IAEA sets out.

In October last year Dr Mohammed

el-Baradei made a good proposal

to move low enriched uranium

from Iran to Russia

and enrich it up to 20%,

move it to France

and manufacture it

into fuel and bring it back to Iran.

I find this is a fair,

realistic proposal and support it,

but I don't have the answer from Iran.

I can tell you that he knows

the address of the IAEA,

he knows what is expected of him,

he can respond at any time,

and we would still welcome a good

faith, legitimate, genuine response.

But we are, as you know, waiting.

Do the Iranians need more carrots

or more sticks to convince them?

They don't like the word carrot.

They associate that with donkeys.

I try to remind them that one

of the biggest parties in the US,

has a donkey as a symbol,

they shouldn't take that seriously.

I think that the incentive way round,

to go along with a settlement,

would be to offer them guarantees

against attacks from the outside

or subversion from the inside.

Trying to gather

an international consensus on Iran

is the core

of President Obama's approach.

In our determination to prevent

the spread of these weapons

rules must be binding,

violations must be punished,

words must mean something.

The world must stand together

to prevent

the spread of these weapons.

But which audience is he trying

to convince the most?

The audience precisely is the Brazils

and South Africas of the world.

Those that want to see

a more equitable international order

and who will not involve themselves

and invest a lot

in enforcing a double standard.

I understand the protest that some

have weapons that others do not.

The nuclear order

is a double standard:

A few get to have nuclear weapons,

the rest don't.

It’s certainly a test of whether or not

he can bring together

the international community

to forge a common position

to try to deal with that programme.

The approach that he took on this

was that if he reached out to Iran,

and Iran snubbed him,

that he would be

in a stronger position

to get the international community

to support the US’s effort

to apply significant pressure to Iran.

This is also a matter of perception.

While the West tries to show

what's happening in Iran,

Iran is also trying to convince

any wavering countries.

They misperceive what's being done

to Iran as somehow 'taking away'

Iran’s nuclear right,

which isn't the case.

Iran violated the terms and

so it's not losing its nuclear rights,

but Iran casts it that way

and others say:

I don't want to do anything

that would limit my right

as is happening to Iran, I support Iran.

But what Iran projects as its rights

are already guaranteed

by the Non-proliferation Treaty.

Under the NPT Iran has the right

to develop peaceful,

civilian nuclear energy.

The next stop,

without some response from Iran,

is probably stiffer sanctions.

What effect can they have?

The sanctions are not a direct way

to stop a bomb programme.

They are not a good way to convince

Ahmadinejad to change his stripes.

The problem

for the President is that,

even if it's true that they come

together behind stiffer sanctions,

it still doesn't mean that they'll

prevent Iran from going forward.

Any country that’s determined

to develop nuclear weapons

is probably going to do so.

Looking for a viable solution is where

the international community is at.

Most recognise that sanctions

have their limits, but also their uses.

Sanctions aren't a magic wand.

What sanctions do accomplish is

hopefully to change the calculus

of a country like Iran,

so that they see that there are

more costs and fewer benefits

to pursuing

a nuclear weapons programme.

In this debate the typical argument is:

Sanctions are stupid,

we shouldn't do them anymore,

they won't change Iran's strategy.

But people are missing

the other point.

Sanctions are also used to punish

and to send the signal to somebody:

There are rules, you may break them,

but there's going to be a cost.

And we will maintain that cost, even

if we can't change your behaviour,

there will be a penalty.

That's partly the message.

It’s not just important

if there are sanctions,

almost equally important is

when they would be imposed.

It would be unfortunate

were the Security Council to act

during the month of May

when we have

the NPT review conference in

session.

Were the Security Council

to act and adopt stronger sanctions

there would be no incentive for Iran

to be accommodating.

A further concern are

the knock-on effects of sanctions.

Could they lead

to more proliferation by Iran

and could other, regional neighbours

follow Iran down the nuclear path?

The more sanctions

we will be imposing on Iran

there will be more incentives

for Iran to sell in the black market

whatever technologies

purchased at high price.

We are trying like heck

to hold the line against Iran

possibly being tempted to cross it.

That's a work in progress, but…

And if Iran does cross that

then we have a serious,

Middle East proliferation problem

with Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia.

We have to worry about that.

But Iran has not yet crossed

the nuclear weapons line.

There are reasons to believe

it may not cross it,

and that even if it did, it would never

actually use any weapon it gained.

What gives me more hope

is that I don't see

that they really have safe security

reasons to go for nuclear weapons.

They had with Iraq, but Iraq is gone.

Rational states,

even states that we don’t like at all,

are very hesitant

to use nuclear weapons

because there’s

a clear return address

and they would suffer

extraordinary consequences.

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